Do You Know: When And How Was The Moon Formed?
How did the moon come into being? This question has fascinated mankind since ancient times. The Moon and its origins intrigue even today. There are various theories regarding its formation. Some say it is the result of a collision between planets, some say it is a meteorite, and some even believe it is a hollowed planet.
Let's use science to find the answer to this question.
First, what is Moon?
The moon is a celestial body, a natural satellite, orbiting around Earth. It is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System, believed to be formed 4.5 billion years ago, after the formation of the earth.
It is composed mainly of rock, iron, silicon, oxygen, and phosphorus.
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The Moon is the only natural satellite that orbits the Earth. It travels about 385,000 kilometers in its orbit around the planet. The Moon is responsible for the tides on the planet, which produce a rhythm that has aided humans for countless years.
Scientists have been trying to figure out how the moon was formed for decades, but they haven't come up with an accurate answer.
There are a plethora of theories about its formation.
However, the leading theory is that the Moon was formed after a collision of a massive object with the newly-formed Earth.
When and how was the Moon formed?
The leading theory known as the Giant Impact hypothesis suggests that during the early years of the formation of the solar system, there was a lot of debris (massive rocks and planetesimals). One such planetesimal known as Theia, about the size of Mars, collided with the young Earth. The Moon was created when the Earth and Theia collided and the material ejected after the collision was sent immediately into orbit.
The ejected particles were then bonded together by gravity to form the largest moon in the solar system relative to its host planet, the Earth.
One important thing to note is that after the collision, only the planet’s crust was sent into orbit, the core was left completely untouched.
The rocks collected during the Apollo Moon Landing are the biggest evidence of this theory. The rocks collected from the Moon exhibit oxygen isotope ratios almost exactly identical to those of Earth and suggest a shared origin.
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According to a second theory, moons can originate alongside their parent planets. In this scenario, gravity would have caused the early solar system's material to draw together at the same time that it linked the Earth's constituent parts together to form the planet.
Such a moon would be quite similar to its parent planet in composition and would account for the moon's current position. This theory is known as the Co-formation theory and has several discrepancies in it.
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Another theory suggests that a rocky mass that was produced somewhere else in the solar system might have been “captured” by the Earth’s gravitational pull and began orbiting around the planet. This theory is known as the Capture theory, however, there is no evidence to suggest that such an event has ever occurred.
Although the capture theory and the co-formation theory both explain some aspects of the Moon's existence, there are discrepancies in both theories.
The leading theory explaining the formation of the Moon is the Giant Impact Hypothesis, although there is no concrete proof available yet.
Future moon samples that are brought back to Earth for examination will need to be analyzed in order to determine which of these theories is accurate. This is why NASA has initiated the Artemis missions.
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